Govt Delegation Travels to Malaysia to Probe Violence against Burmese

By The Irrawaddy 12 June 2013

A special delegation, led by senior officials from Burma’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Labor, departed for Malaysia on Tuesday evening to probe violence against Burmese migrant workers there, state-owned newspaper The Mirror reported on Wednesday.

“We are leaving for there to provide more effective protection to our Burmese,” Zin Yaw, a leader of the delegation and the deputy foreign affairs minister, was quoted as saying at Rangoon International Airport. He added that the delegation would investigate the recent violence and planned to meet with officials of the respective ministries in Malaysia.

Attacks targeting Burmese nationals in Malaysia began on May 30, when a Burmese man there was beheaded by unknown assailants. Other Burmese citizens in Malaysia have since come under attack, with the assaults being linked to communal violence between Buddhists and minority Muslims that has taken place in Burma over the last year. More than 150,000 people, mostly Muslims, have been displaced in Burma since the first of several violent outbreaks occurred in June 2012.

Malaysia’s population is majority-Muslim.

Zin Yaw said on Tuesday that since the May 30 incident, the violence in Malaysia has seen four Burmese nationals killed, with those behind the attacks still at large.

Another delegation leader, Deputy Labor Minister Win Maw Tun, said the group will provide assistance to Burmese people in Malaysia who fear for their safety in light of the recent attacks and want to return to their home country.

“The government will help the Burmese in Malaysia to return home, whether they are working there legally or not,” she said.

Myanmar Airways (MAI) said on Tuesday that it would offer half-priced airfares to Burmese nationals currently in Malaysia and seeking repatriation.